This guide provides an overview of Switzerland’s economy, including the country’s primary imports and exports.
Switzerland Economy Overview
Switzerland ranks as the 18th largest export economy in the world, with annual exports of $310 billion and a positive trade balance of $16.9 billion (after deducting yearly imports of $294 billion).
The GDP of Switzerland was last calculated at $705 billion. That equates to a GDP per capita of $82,797.
Switzerland has always been a country that has supported a position of international neutrality. This has helped it achieve a stable economy, with low unemployment and a GDP per capita that is among the highest in the world.
Switzerland’s Top Exports
Here is a breakdown of the most important products exported by Switzerland, both commodities and other notable exports.
- Gold – $63.8 billion
- Coffee – $2.21 billion
- Diamonds – $1.89 billion
- Petroleum gas – $1.29 billion
- Platinum – $1.13 billion
If you’re interested in trading some of these commodities, you can jump to our list of recommended regulated brokers in at the end of the page.
Other Notable Exports
- Packaged medicaments – $44.1 billion
- Blood, antisera, vaccines, toxins, and cultures – $28 billion
- Base metal watches – $13.7 billion
- Jewelry – $11.1 billion
- Nitrogen heterocyclic compounds – $9.55 billion
Switzerland’s Top Imports
Here is a breakdown of the most important products imported by Switzerland, both commodities and other notable imports.
- Gold – $64.9 billion
- Refined petroleum – $4.81 billion
- Diamonds – $3.22 billion
- Crude petroleum – $3.18 billion
- Raw copper – $2.52 billion
Other Notable Imports
- Packaged medicaments – $19 billion
- Jewelry – $15.9 billion
- Cars – $10.3 billion
- Blood, antisera, vaccines, toxins, and cultures – $9.9 billion
- Nitrogen heterocyclic compounds – $6.37 billion
Details on Switzerland’s Exports/Imports
Switzerland is the world’s leading exporter of gold, enjoying a 20.9% share of an annual export market worth $305 billion. Its nearest rivals are the United Kingdom (8.46%) and the United States (5.95%).
Although Switzerland is the biggest exporter of gold, it is ranked 7th globally in terms of the number of gold reserves it holds. According to World Gold Council figures, Switzerland has 1,040 tonnes, compared to the United States who are top-ranked with 8,133 tonnes.
Switzerland is the 11th largest exporter of diamonds, with a 1.63% share of an annual export market valued at $116 billion. Most of its diamonds are destined for the United States (20.8%) and France (19.5%).
Switzerland is the world’s 5th and Europe’s 2nd largest exporter of coffee with a 7.16% share of an annual export market worth $30.9 billion.
Higher coffee bean prices charged by Swiss exporters and specializing in selling small quantities in specific formats, such as pods manufactured in Swiss factories, mean that the average price paid for roasted coffee exported out of Switzerland is often about 3.5 times the international average.
Switzerland is the fifth largest exporter of electricity and has a 7.86% share of an annual export market valued at $12.1 billion.
Neighboring Italy receives 100% of Switzerland’s electricity exports.
The global platinum export market is worth $32 billion per year and Switzerland is the 8th largest exporter with a 3.54% market share. Hong Kong (17.9%) is the biggest recipient of Swiss platinum.
Interesting Facts About Switzerland
- Switzerland has one of the highest rates of gun ownership in the world but enjoys one of the lowest crime rates of all industrialized countries.
- Teaching is one of the highest-paid occupations in Switzerland, with an average salary of around $68,000.
- After Japan, Swiss people have the second-longest life expectancy rates in the world.
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Sources and Further Reading
- All figures are based on OEC 2018 calculations and projections unless otherwise stated.
- Learn more about the state of world government debt from our country debt clock pages.
- See our global economic indicator guide to more than 45 other countries.
- Get our full guide to trading commodities.
All currency is reported in US dollars.